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Why Are We Losing All Our Good People?
This fictional case study probes a dilemma facing many companies: What should you do when you can’t keep your top talent? Traditionally, just four experts are invited to comment on the case. With this interactive version, HBR invites you to contribute your own solution. Adapted from “Why Are We Losing All Our Good People?,” the June 2008 Harvard Business Reviewcase study by Edward E. Lawler III

How You Can Interact
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Read the abbreviated HBR case study below and tell us what you would do Read what HBR’s expert commentators recommend Vote on the experts’ recommended approaches Read related content

Several talented employees have recently left the architecture and engineering firm Sambian Partners--and the CEO, Helen Gasbarian, has no idea why. Is it a trend or just a coincidence? The firm's latest defector refuses to tell the head of human resources, Mary Donillo, why he was unhappy.. The exodus of star employees is particularly puzzling because Sambian earned its spot as a top-notch firm by making appealing offers to bright, young talent. Rather than spending years as anonymous assistants to fat-cat partners, junior people at the firm could immediately start making their mark by working on interesting jobs. Designers could choose their own projects and set their own priorities. Over the years, Helen had worked to increase the collaboration among the cutting-edge designers, engineers, and client account managers. The result was a firm known for innovation and leading the "green building" movement. To her, the company felt like a family. Employees are also feeling the negative effects of the increase in departures and discussing the possible causes--the lack of support structure to get their designs seen and sold, the top-heavy structure of the firm, the absence of a clear career path. Helen urges Mary to conduct the annual employee survey ahead of schedule to see if that will shed any light on the reasons for the departures. But the self-administered report doesn't reveal much-overall, employees stated that they're quite satisfied with just about every aspect of their employment experience. The only negative feedback given was a few scattered comments about deadwood in the project manager ranks, "certain prima donnas" who cared more about winning awards than staying on budget, and occasional weekend or evening hours because someone "higher up the chain procrastinated." When Helen gets word of the next possible flight risk, she promotes the employee on the spot. Is that the right thing to do? How can Sambian stop the talent drain? What would you do?

Comments

Companies may superficially court a concept that " we are a great organisation, great work environment" leaving no room for employees to rock the boat by admitting that something is wrong.Sambian, should have a "no holds barred employee anonymous survey " Ask the employees what they think of their work environ ment, and what they would do to improve the organisation.Then hold an employee session and share feedback, not the great feedback, but the feedback that says we need help in certain areas.Offer possible improvements, but ask for input in the solution. people don't leave good organisations for financial reasons only. They leave because they are dissatisfied with the lack of internal career opportunities , lack of resources to execute their jobs/ tasks,insufficent training and career building opportunities, and more importantly - ineffective leadership support. Employees buy into vision, or take a job then move onto a better vision. Ultimately, I'd make Helen accountable for her area of expertise, and if it continues I'd get someone who can get the job done, to retain my company's resources. - Posted by donna-Luisa eversley May 12, 2008 05:43 Employees are giving feedback by leaving. Clearly, they feel that more direct forms of feedback will go unheeded. Helen needs to find the root cause of why employees don't trust the company or don't care enough about the company to improve it. As stated in at Manager-Tools (http://www.manager-tools.com), Helen should start looking in concentric circles around her desk to solve the trust and and indifference problems. Once this is done, the feedback model will reveal the operational problems. - Posted by Poojan Wagh May 14, 2008 13:39 employee satisfaction. Losing employee? Signs and symptoms of unhealthy organization. - Posted by ernst May 24, 2008 22:58 Helen must rely to a great extent on feedback from (and hold accountable)the individuals she has selected to report to her. However if one(or more!) of these group members are the reason for

she should set up a values hot line and publish the availability of the same to employees. (ESOPs . she should re-introduce to the entire company how the company's vision values ALL employees. stock options) . In effect. This approach also keeps Helen's direct reports (leaders) on their toes. >Survey of key peoples moved from each group (This might help to identify the worst leader) >Going through feedback from exit interview. familiar and approachable to the folks who do the most important work that makes and keeps the company a success. then Helen likely needs to broaden her network. >Adding few more long term benefits. She need to understand the gap between key employees and her leadership team. . 2008 10:15 Helen must make clear to her direct reports that the recent attrition is a threat to the enterprise as a whole. >Market price or average salary difference from the key competitors. In this manner. In other words. Helen can keep her finger on the pulse of employee satisfaction first hand and get ideas for what will keep her talented population stimulated and excited about their work and workplace.Posted by Jewel May 27.employees to be dissatisifed enough ot leave. She should then set specific benchmarks of performance for each of the departments that make up Sambian. speak to employees and "keep her eyes peeled" for any signs of the root cause. and if anyone ever feels like that value (or any other) is being violated by any other member of the company. Building and maintining these relationships makes Helen's job more rewarding too. she should tell managers that they will be accountable for ensuring that no more than 5% of employees leave the company over a one year span. 2008 15:48 I think. . She would be very wise to adapt the practice of daily MBWA (manage by walking around) whenever possible in order to project herself as available. Helen should follow through on this strategy. Helen need to discuss with her leadership team first. they can report the same in an anonymous manner via the hotline. In addition.Posted by Carlos Echeverri May 28.

also waits for small recognition in addition to their satisfaction.the company prospects matter much. >Promoting the key peoples and highlighting their achievements. She made delay. Her delay in anticipating and planning strategically the future of the business made the employees to get time to think about the future of their work completed and so ambiguity.handled by a representative part of the employees as a communication team and leadership in the subject to find the gaps between company goals and surrounding realities. 2008 03:11 Hi. collecting attitudes and needs of change ideas as kvantitative measureble facts . Each employee wants to do his/her work differenly and experiment/implement his ideas at work. Jan Wennerlo . sales. Regards. The Second thing is the enthusiasm that wakes up an employee each morning to do his/her work creatively and immerse in it. based on a free(open) speach idea.Posted by jan wennerlo May 29. Krish .Posted by Krishnamoorthy May 28. The employees should be always assured of the Organisation's business prospects positively.>Moving closely to the employees in offshore activities and try to hear from them. much before and prepared a strategy to sell it immediately after it is made ready. 2008 19:31 Analyze and reconstruct communication channels and start a build-up of a special employee discussion channel. Employees imbibes this connection by seeing their top level management following the same. Next .etc. At the end of his work success . If she had planned for the sales and the next project/product ready and made the employees aware .Helen would have thought of the future of the product and its marketing. As Jean Martin told the first thing that is needed is emotional connection for the employees with the Company/Organisation.

Posted by BharathiThotaGajula May 29. Helen should connect to people by participating in the seminars. . or look for opportunities to focus on or locate upside experience opportunities despite seemingly negative dominant choices. Psychopaths are the masters of kiss up-kick down and they will often remain undetected by the executive team due to their mastery of controlling perception.. The key sign is that people are reluctant to share any reason for leaving: FEAR! Fear comes from people. are flexible and resilient. most people DO NOT QUIT but instead are patient. The employees should feel Helen's presence. the company should first retain top 20% of talented employees for quite long time by some means and so these people automatically build their own circle . So. This is a sort of encouragement. knowledge sharing sessions . normal people have a high degree of endurance for transient difficulty and discomfort.The talented workforce looks for fellow talented employees to stay back. This way we can build the talented workforce with in. seminars. Take advice from highly skilled people as what should be done to improve the weaker areas in the teams and this should be cofidentially implemented so that these people feel that their opinions are being valued for their skills. 2008 11:10 When key people leave but refuse to divulge cause during normal exit interviews consider that psychopathic personality disorder is present somewhere in the organization. then the employees never doubt about their work and the product and so the business.occassionally. Humans are . As a result. so this is the clue that personality disordered individuals are at work in your organization. Healthy.Also these 20% should be encouraged to select the incoming employees and the highly talented employees coming in should be bonded forcibly by bond to the organisation. not from circumstances.of this. intercompany discussions about technical expertise should be encouraged. Most people try to make things work.. Thanks. Take feedback regularly on weekly basis and it should reach top most management directly and be heard. or try to wait out change. The technical expertise should be increased among the managers and the debates. .

the possibility space of positive upsides or a a "different tommorrow" are removed. their people will respect them. Once the most confident give notice and leave. set up controls to try to reduce the likelihood (but not eliminate) the possibility of taking on new sources of discord and chaos during the hiring process. They should openly acknoledge the few scattered negative feedback comments by giving quick public acknowlegement and rewards from upper management. they should openly show the employees how they plan to mitigate the issues and then quickly act on the plans. Next. if management truly respects their people. When this happens. Basically.tremendously adaptable to adversity and generally work hard to fix things on their own before bailing.Posted by Jim May 30. That may be the worst idea ever. Background checks are key as most psychopaths have very erratic pasts. when psychopaths are at work. 360 degree reviews (if you yourself can tolerate them!) are a good start. 2008 01:39 When Helen gets word of the next possible flight risk. the less confident see promise in changing their circumstances and follow suit. How Sambian should stop the talent drain is quite simple but may be difficult to adapt in Sambian's culture. . Find the antisocials and psychopaths in your organization and purge them. people lose patience. She is giving the employees a greater incentive to leave because then they will get promoted. However. A scheme like that would incentivize the employees to be honest with management and should eventually lead to fewer employees leaving because they will feel respected again. she promotes the employee on the spot. Then. they lose hope and then they leave. .

The partnership between Human Resource and Line Managers. 6. Leadership Model based on the Organisation and Business Strategies. Engage and retention Plan. What I can add is to say that employees need to feel connected with the organisation. Many Technical employees feel they do not need or want leadership training because they feel they want to be engineers. How the organisation review and honor the employees. They also believe all these leadership training is more for the Managers who deal with people. 2. Engineers and Technical Employees will feel the connection with the Organisation. Action Plans must then be drawn to close these gaps in a specific time frame. the company will thrive again. However this will not work if the following is not part of the Talent development: 1. -Adil Minocherhomjee . Having the above Talent Management Model will not do if the Oeganisation do not conduct a periodic Audit (Leadership Development Audit) for example half yearly or at least yearly. 2008 02:48 Hi. Many organisation do take this dual path when it comes to leadership development. Exit forms are nice but most would not give the truth of the matter for fear of references request from their new employers.If Sambian can implement such a plan. . 2008 03:10 A good career development program with a balanced evaluation (creative+business) The company has now built enough of a reputation-unlike the early days where they were defined by . Technical employees and Managers feel differently about Leadership Development.Posted by Syed Abdul Jalil May 30.Posted by Adil Minocherhomjee May 30. These information can than be ploted into Dashboard (Graphs) and presented to all the Heads of Departments and acknowledge the GAPS. 4. People Development (Technical and Managerial) 5. Most of you have posted the relevant comments. Recruitment Process taking into account leadership competencies 3. Leadership has alot to with EQ or EI. etc. With proper Leadership Development.

but don't grow the firms intellectual capital . It may be true that she is doing her job.Posted by rohit May 30. . and the leadership and led on the other hand? Do employees trust that the organisation will recognise and reward appropriately..sometimes for no reasons at all. nobody wants to work (for a long time) with a nagging. In my own opinion. The hiring strategy should focus on selecting people and nurturing internally in a proactive manner rather than knee jerk promotions. . positive contributions towards profitability and growth? or do they have to produce "certificates of resignation worthiness" before promotions are dished out? Online-Real time promotions are a clear indication of failure to (timely) reward good talents. As a business they are a specialist business and their virtue is in being small-so the firm should focus on lesser projects at a higher value and engagememt for stars (the thrill of work)than too many projects which bring revenue. It may be that Helen (the CEO) is too bossy and authoritative in her dealing with the employees instead of being their friends. 2008 03:53 Promoting the employee who wants to leave is even worse (i. I believe if Sambian makes her employees her friends and gives them a sense of belonging.Posted by Abiodun Babs Adisa May 30. Sambian can stop the talent drain by simply going back to the "drawing board" and identify what she's not doing right.. intolerant. 2008 06:12 What is the trust level between the organisation and its employees on the one hand. She should remember that money is not everything. but there is something called leniency and moderation. it is not the solution). and inconsiderable CEO no matter how much the take home. The best way to manage star performers can come from the movie and audit businesses where firms recognize the value of stars and are will to part with profit(%of movie revenues) and management control(partners in an audit/law firm). the talent drain currently being faced would be drastically reduced. without jeopardising the corporate objective. "good job" indeed. Employees will always leave for all kinds of reasons.e.the talent they could hire-now they are a known entity.

Other way is. This is best done in the early morning hours. Why? Has she lost the track of hard work by herself? She ought to be honest and go each floor and find out for herself what exactly is slow and what needs tightening.Posted by ini-odu akpan May 30.Ini-odu Akpan . they have not seen her for a long time. Mary. has no idea why and no one wants to tell. No one will tell you what is there. “Where are you going. Just ask the leaver to very politely why he is leaving. Is that not the true story? Who ever wants to tell in advance why he/she is leaving the employments even in the good days. Not all work as hard as the case states. She took the employer as the family. Try and let us know what he/she says. It is a folly as this follows by. you ought to die yourselves. “This is for my study that I am doing for my PhD”. the assistant to carry out the survey. The report she gets fro the second party is not as good as her own report. They have forgotten that there is any one called Helen who toiled to bring the corporation at this level. 2008 07:56 Why Are We Losing All Our Good People? Many have left Sambian Partners. That is the real way to go. when the employees see her getting involved they will feel a slight lift. she should hide the emotions when she is given the leave note. Helen had worked hard. Sitting and thinking will not help nor can she leave the matter to someone.. Helen should go down to the low levels and see for herself what is running and what is slow. Remember the story of the King Bruce and the spider? I thank you . when there is a brain drain. You are not satisfied here also why don’t you tell the CEO. See what happen is. CEO. It is now the time come out of the cabin and back to the gloves. There is no need to put it in the public broadcast system and tell where they are going. She is in the driving seat. Why are you leaving us after a long time? Any promotions you see going down the tube here. and Helen Gasbarian. How many do this? Helen is slightly pompous as she asks. To see heaven or hell. They know that she was once a driving force however. How much are getting there. as is a good driver in the rain and slithery roads. I see no other way. She may.

I would also recommend looking for a trustworthy 'people person' in the company. then figure out how to minimize their damage range by either reassigning them to an individual contributor's role or working them out via outplacement. If you just do the favorites you will miss alot because often we treat them special already. Many are cautious of providing feedback as they fear retribution with future references.Posted by Firozali A.Box 6044 Dar-Es-Salaam Tanzania East Africa .Firozali A. and have them conduct retention discussions with a cross section of the company's employees (not just the usual suspects). 2008 17:05 It is the old saying. They also do not burn bridges in the event they may need to return. who manages them. people don't leave companies-they leave managers. We did something like this when I worked in Asia with a multi-faceted retention model. 1 of 4) so they can truly be anonymous. A personal letter from the organization indicating they were stars (in writing) and provides an open letter of recommendation. have given up hope that things will really change. These folks need to know that the company thought they were stars. and consider making some changes to shake up the organization to send a message that retention matters. . It consisted of a quick pre-discussion survey that employees filled out. If I were Helen i would look for patterns in who is leaving. Employees .Posted by Russ Hornung May 30. Their feedback needs to be anonymous and they need to know that they are 1 of 50 that have been solicited (vs. followed by a face-to-face interview of questions relating to each of the factors. Or. They may already feel good about the company. Mulla MBA PhD P. If there is a known poor people manager. Mulla MBA PhD May 30. 2008 12:20 Helen should also reach out to the folks that left.O.

Atique Malik May 31. but did not want to get rid of the problem managers because they did not have anyone to replace them with. Now. then the CEO may be the problem.Posted by Dr. I am sure it is blamed on people leaving for more money. For many just the act of someone in the company formally talking with people about their careers was enough to make them feel valued and build loyalty to improve retention. no loyalty to the old 'system' and will work hard to put this problem behind him/her. People don't leave companies. . as people and organisations take too long to change. we are 8 months down the road and 7 people out of the original 20 have left. this CEO will remember what happened to the last fellow. I would replace the CEO. . as they trusted that the results would not be shared in an identifiable manner. 2008 18:56 I have to agree with Ms. It was a growing company that grew fast and had poor managers over the group. I just lived this exact case study. Those who left probably realised that there was not much use in discussions. Aiken. and open discussion within the Company conducted by an outside source.were very honest both in the surveys and the interviews. The VP conducted studies and knew the root of the problem. This is a safe and pragmatic course of action. and the CEO is still unaware of the reason why. If the firm's reputation truly depends on it's talented employees. The group had many talented people so the work got done at a high level in spite of the managers.Posted by Kathryn Aiken May 31. The new CEO will have. and then follow HR101 to get full exit interviews. 2008 12:22 This is basically an engineering company. but the reality is that people lost faith in management to fix the problem and realized nothing would change. and engineers work and draw conclusions on the basis of evidence. It may be too late for window dressing. Further. and the attrition has gone on for some time. .they leave managers. We uncovered some key areas of vulnerability and then recommended systemic improvements for our problem areas. or should have.

Posted by Paul M June 2. Now a company (mine included) has a revolving door that they can't stop. lower the pay in HR as this is the number one . They should consider adopting a 360 degree feedback system starting at the top with zero tolerance for retribution. I work for a high tech company in Silicon Valley. 2008 08:46 It appears there is a disconnect between the various layers within the company. Look at what people are suggesting..it runs the gamut. Others around me do. They should also consider using an assessment system that can examine each profile for hiring.e drama in their lives). The one thing everyone has in common is that they are chasing the dollar. Idiots leave for all sorts of reasons too that have nothing to do with their job (i. I would take a serious look at what archetype is at play and begin working from that angle. The word then gets out and the next thing you know you have a company full of idiots working for you because those are the only ones that apply. Stop doing that. Make a reward for loyalty (payment. Let's not forget here that HR departments have no respect at any company yet execs listen to their ideas like it has come from god. higher bonus structure. The execs come hear looking for answers when really all they need to do is look in the mirror to see how this happened. Today that couldn't be farther from the truth.Posted by Dan Paradis June 2. If it looks like a duck. sounds like a duck. There is no reward for loyalty. . give rewards for loyalty and everyone will chase to dollar to your doorstep. 2008 09:37 Everyone here is over analyzing this to death.. The company I work for use to be the smartest and brigtest. and the like) and you will retain people. There is blue skies ahead for Sambian Partners however it must begin at the top and work through the company. If I wanted to I could change companies 3 times in one week.. Helen's solution to simply promote would fit in the 'Fixes that Backfire' and I would highly suggest against it. A departing employee that quits his/her job will tell 10 friends. etc. then it is a DUCK! The problem is Human Resource Departments. I simply choose not to but will eventually. It is as simple as that. Those 10 friends will then tell 10. promoting and so on. etc. more days off. So.

I have to read outside the work and impart here. and I know so. persuasions. WELL NOT NOTHING BECAUSE ALL THEY DO IS PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM LOSING THEIR HIGH PAYING JOB WHERE THEY DO NOTHING. But what is the point here and why did I leave despite the seemingly beautiful place I work? 1) I cannot go beyond my seat right now. pleadings. But I would not buldge. PWC. An exit interview was conducted the day I notified my boss of my leaving. Once hired as an employee or consultant they propogate within a company and only hire their own irregardless of how smart they are or qualified. etc you have working at your company. etc people as employees and think twice about them as consultants.Posted by Mike June 3. . Their goal is to get one or more on the executive team. .No future for a 29year old ambitious accounting professional like me here. They also suck a company dry and leave when there is no more. And why would they not do so? I single handedly turned around the credit conrol functions and managed a client portfolio of over USd8. They never rock the boat. promotions would only mean increased salaries. Ever wonder why HR departments always have crayons on hand? Me too! Lastly.reason why NO ONE TRUSTS AN HR PERSON BECAUSE THEY MAKE SO MUCH MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE FOR DOING NOTHING. threats and the like were employed to make me change my mind and stay. not increased challenges. Ask your HR dept to look into how many former deloitte. 2) there is no new thing o learn here. stop hiring deloitte. i reduced thecredit exposure from over USD2. Additionally. PWC. As such. 2008 11:04 I recently submitted my resignation letter in a world known airline. They populate like bunnies that are attracted to companies doing well. Their ultimate goal is to get one of their own to CEO. I had worked as Assiatant Manger Accounts Receivables for about four years even though i knew I was to be come the head of that department in some few months time. as they propogate they form an informal hieararchy where they begin to promote one another. In just a month. You will quickly realize who is actually in control. Logic. since these people have an agenda.2m to less than 51kUSd!My bosses claimed that they would never find a perfect replacement like me. they are a parasite to a company and completely undermind the efforts of an executive team.2m each month. then intimidations. reasonings.

The list goes on and on and on. Others are simply employed because of their multi-language proficiency and not because they know the job. MBAs. This is not as bad as it sounds since innovation needs new ideas. Another thing also is that there was a tremendous communication gap between the management and the employees specially the lower level. professional qualifications etc. there are many ways to lessen the impact. and you are just a hair's breath far away from Helen Gasbarian's solution. My guess would be that the organizational structure is not suited for the young talents or that the company is being poached. Continuous hiring to decentralized talent pools to off shoring are some of the many ways. functions and responsibilities.Posted by Anthony Lee June 3. 5) What is more. because they had experienced unsastifying career path. And of course. The .Posted by Lanre Daniel June 3. in a way that result of their abilities and skills lack exposures. I would not stay if Iget promooted immediately or receive a pay rise equal or above my new employer. The bottom-line is not that the employees are leaving rather it is the impact it has on the company. 2008 13:01 To react in any way without knowing the facts is as bad as Helen promoting the employee on the spot. The tendency would be series of departures among employees specially those who have great abilites. . you could receive a management frown if you are bent on personal developments: added degrees.3) My department (Finance) is made up of only two of us professional accountants. this might also be a cause of huge numbers of hired employees with limited resources. . 4)No provision is ever made to send us on regular periodic seminars or workshops on relevant issues from recognised accounting bodies. The best course of action is to task Mary with getting to the root course via smaller focus groups and possibly shifting the culture from retention to continually hiring new talents. as such. 2008 14:13 There is something wrong with the entire organization particularly managing their people. So these create mess in the accounts for professionals like us to clean up. Put all these reasons together. One observation is that top talents and personnel have no opportunities for recognition.

And at the same time. Although Helen would promote the person to the next rank. it is no assurance that the talent would remain with the company for long.management doesn't know the sentiments of their personnel until they wake up one morning. Continue working on collaboration and team building among them. What is most important is to have the people with the right mentality to work rather than retaining excellent talent without the right mentality The couple of pointers in this direction a. Undergoing several intensive screening of the applicants and tap promising offer. . Possible solutions would be the following: 1) Hire people based on the needs and competetiveness of the company. create various motivational factors: one of which is. 3) Try overhaul other parts or the entire structure by "Pruning" . 2008 20:20 It is not the right thing to promote the talent. . it is better to let him/her go (although he has excellent talents and is technically perfect). young talent. if the employees feel they are important in the company then they would give back loyalty and commitment. if the company believes they are competetive enough then cross bridge to global market.to uncover the unnecessary positions or managerinl ranking. several already left the company. Plaza June 3. but i came up with understanding based on what i see Sambian Partner's running their people. Based on this. The above are just my opinions. try to investigate and understand why this so happened. they might not be correct. Sambian earned its spot as a top-notch firm by making appealing offers to bright. 2)Helen should go down to the lower level. acknowledge their efforts and give importance of their work. This gives the wrong message to the other remaing colleauges. Once a person has decided to leave. This would encourage the employees to give most of their abilities by creating a design distinct from other firms. Because.Posted by Mariafe M.

That being clarity in what the employee can most achieve with the company and the other. This shows that although the case study at some point refers to heirarchal management. there is no clear authorities and responsibilities in place atleast for the HR functional group (probably could be the same for the other functional/technical areas too and this could be frustrating sometimes) What I think needs to be considered in this case is a.Posted by Joseph Mathew June 5. . the pay package would not have been the deciding factor for the colleagues to leave the firm. It is not clear if within the selection process. once the talent had achieved his/her personal priorities. ensure that the colleagues have the right mentality to achieve the company goals in addition to their personal achievement. Somewhere. b. .. While selecting new talent. I think it’s already too late for Helen. use the informal channel also to gather the inputs regarding the reasons for talent leaving the firm. Luckily I came across information that picked out my possible shortcomings.. the companies objectives and vision were shared with the colleagues and they had also shared the same mentality for the common growth of the company. there is no further reason why he/she would remain with the Firm. When Helen gets word of the next possible flight risk. From my perspective..Young bright talent was attracted primarily on the appealing offers made. Mine has been the encouragement of ownership of the projects and the same people were handled as family. . If there was a mismatch. the mix didn't work. b. They would move on to the next phase using this firm as a steping stone. to have a unbiased review of the working environment in relation to the organisation structure down to the lowest levels. How she recruits and manages performance should be the next thing to handle. 2008 10:33 Interesting scenario as I have recently experienced the same. the flexibility provided to persue their projects of interests and their own priorities. It is interesting to note that Helen is jumping in to bypass the HR processes.

They will be indebted forever.understanding their ultimate dreams and trying your best to have them aligned to your organizations dreams. The vagueness in these areas allows the employee to question their future in that company. I think what we could do is accept this and see talent as a passing force that should be utilized to maximum. their personal dreams remain their ultimate goal. maybe we cannot retain talent as it was headed elsewhere in the first place . Schumacher" which stresses that what people look for is a personal sense of achievement and for them to feel this. job description etc. Really. A mechanism for personal achievement being the key issue. . "If achieve this great thing. On the other hand turning what one might consider as an average person into a talent may be the way to go. What I realized is that it was never truly integrated into day-to-day activities and in return did not offer measurable outcomes to measurable achievements. Second: knowing what the individual’s sense of purpose for the organization is and the organization’s ability to eventually offer it. will I become a partner??" What then? On personal achievement: What are your talent's dreams? Will they achieve this in this company. 2008 11:52 Though the talent employee is ready to commit to the Organisation for longer duration. On Clarity: I have had the appraisal.Economics as if people mattered” by E. smaller teams are instrumental in offering this sense of this achievement. the employer’s organization is the bridge to the employee’s dreams. the immediate above managers may not be liking them to stay longer. What I learnt?: One was clarity of one’s role from the day to day perspective and how that tangibly translates to recognition – financially or otherwise.F.Posted by Jebet Chemng'orem-Ahluwalia June 6. Normally talented employees will . This I picked from the book "Small is beautiful . Even if employee claimed to have moved your company from A to X. Its as if the employer needs to feed the employee with the organization’s greater challenges that eventually end up turning them to their personal dreams once they have achieved this.to serve self. At the end of it.

For talented employees. Some times the above immediate Managers may feel insecure with the talented employees and their importance. The only solution is that the top most management should have an eye on the people suffering the talented workforce and try to protect talented workforcewithout out misunderstanding them. imperfect resources to get the job done.be emotional and different from crowd. Apart from rational needs if emotional needs get satisfied this situation would never occur. Helen should now take a strategic step to overcome this attrition. strengths are under utilized. The job descriptions change too frequently. this is happening in many Organisations.Posted by Charles Fain June 9. They are facing difficulty with fellow average and below-average workers and also from the Management. . 2008 12:18 There are two reasons why employees can become dissatisfied with the Organizations they are working with and try to leave. So Managers need extra patience to understand them and their way of working.the way the organization connects to their employees and Two - .Posted by Vaishali Gupta June 9. An environment and hierarchy should be such that every employee has a person in Hr where he/she can report his/her problems.Posted by John June 9. recommendations etc hassel free. Direct or indirect involvement of emplooyes into the mission vision and objectives of an organization would help them to get a sense and feeling of belongigness and once this feeling is developed .growth so that they will throw mud or blame and project them as bad elements in the teams and suffocate them to leave by themselves. and eventually all the ambiguity leads to frustration. . an employee would definitely work to the core to achieve it. Positive energy should be inculcated within the employees. . 2008 06:25 People leave because managment (not leadership) has lost focus. A team of experts should be appointed to find out the root cause of the ststed problem. 2008 05:18 In this scenario . Apart from this Emloyee engagement activities should be held that would help them to get a sense of belongigness. One .

2008 04:30 . Take an example. To keep good employees it is important for the Organization to connect to them and offer growth opportunities.the career paths offered to the employees as they perform and excel. If the support services does not have efficient and courteous staff and they are not treating employee issues with enough empathy the employees immediately feel that they are in a wrong place. If the senior management is not interacting with the employees on regular basis and would like to show the reasons for their non availability as strategic meetings or customer issues they will loose attention of the employees and employees get a feeling that we are in an environment run by a set of top managers and they will never feel that they are in a company jointly owned by all employees in addition to the senior management. candidates selected to join my team backout because they were not even offered a glass of water when they walked into our office for an interview on a sunny day. Middle managers play a vital role in Organization communication landscape. Employees still stay with a company despite all above factors if there is a career path exists. But if your topline is heavy and huge amount of people promoted to senior positions together. In a few cases.Posted by Venkat Manthripragada June 11. They are close to the individual employees and knows their issues much better than the senior managers. If middle managers cannot find ways to keep the communication channels running with the individual employees then they end up giving a feeling that the Organization does not care about individuals. middle managers and employees feel that there is no scope for growing and they try to find alternate ways to find their growth. the reason given by one of the employees who wanted to leave us as "Your company want my work but does not care about my welfare" and the explanation he gave is he gets reminder messages if he has not accounted for his hours spent on a client project within 12 hours but he does not get updates on change of policies on time. he does not get his reimbursements on time. They felt that this is not an organization that care about people. The Organization communicates with its employees in multiple ways. support structure are three key pillars using which the Organization communicates with the employees and these communications connect the employees with the Organization providing an identity. . These impressions appear like very basic but can lead to giving critical impressions to individual employees. He felt that Organization is pushing its interests hard ignoring the employees interests. middle management. The senior management.

In my opinion. 2008 10:29 In this case . And secondly the management should re-invent themselves to be leaders. An environment and hierarchy should be such that every employee has a person in Hr where he/she can report his/her problems.Posted by Sirri Selim Kalac June 14. They concluded that they have succeeded. The people of any team are not everything. make a better atmosphere to recruit and bloom of the employee's talents. . Apart from rational .Fathi June 15. preferably with the senior management.R. and job promotion proportion with the good performance by the side of exact study of the mental. A team of experts should be appointed to find out the root cause of the ststed problem.It is a common attitude of humans to play fool on themselves when they are fire fighting. but to my belief neither Adrienne’s change of mind nor the positive survey results were enough to conclude that the executive team managed to stop the exodus. Positive energy should be inculcated within the employees. Competitive corporations with creation of good foundation and environment. The company’s first strategy should be to improve the communication among the organisation to achieve higher emotional ties between members. This is just what happened to Helen after she promoted Adrienne and to Mary after she received the survey results. Apart from this Emloyee engagement activities should be held that would help them to get a sense of belongigness. after five years of service in a company Adrienne should have more emotional ties with other employees. recommendations etc hassel free.Posted by A. On the other hand. an employee would definitely work to the core to achieve it. they are the only thing. If Tom is the only mentor she could find around then I would say that managers of Sambian are only managers. . 2008 06:38 I think that this related to the condition of market and competitive environment. Direct or indirect involvement of emplooyes into the mission vision and objectives of an organization would help them to get a sense and feeling of belongigness and once this feeling is developed . one of the solutions is preparing a suitable and satisfying environment. not leaders as they should. Helen should now take a strategic step to overcome this attrition.

place them where their potentials would be fully tapped and rewarded accordingly.Posted by Alan Whitbred June 18. . Every member of your employee is a team member and they all need to be carried along when issues that affects them and their organisation are hot in the front burner.Posted by H. thats my submission. 2008 11:23 Helen needs to know there is a disconnect between her and her high flyers. They need to know where they would be year after year if they continue to meet their business plan/results. 2008 10:41 No problem Just let theme abandon work .Posted by N Fathi June 15. The formal methods of collecting the feedbacks or suggestions (Like employee breakthrough surveys) may not work always. just seeing them as employees is an old management style. She also need to get close to her team. Organisations must respect their team members.needs if emotional needs get satisfied this situation would never occur Regards. For .Posted by Nathaniel Shofarasin June 18. especially when they are doing well and need to know what the future holds for them through a proper career plan.Joudaki June 15. . . People want to grow. 2008 22:32 Halen should start collecting the feedback through informal ways. 2008 12:08 You could do what my company does and just throw obscene amounts of money at people.

Where it is difficult for real employee to shine and due credit not given. Helen should look inwards into the senior management styles that her senior management team has adopted and evaluate for gaps that has allowed top talents to drop through. he feels the itch to move on to another place where he is allowed to increase his net worth and be appreciated at the same time.Posted by Krishna June 24.Posted by Henry Wee Lam Goh June 26. It appears that the firm started as an architecture & engineering firm and in the bargain seems to have focused on that aspect so strongly that the related aspects of the customer and the required focus there seems to have gone into the background. also to get employees to stand up without fear to give suggestion to improve the company. Extrinsic benefits is just one part of the equation and what we should focus on is the employee's intrinsic benefit expectations. Clarity on what the organization is going to stand for & the consequences related to that. 2008 01:13 It maybe Helen and her team (cronies) that are causing the issues. . She should be aggressive in implementing employee benefit programmes. . When a talented employee feels that his net worth is not being appreciated by the senior management. The board might want to review the management team and take appropriate actions.example she can invite an employee for a lunch and start a discussuion. 2008 01:48 There are really 3 key issues as I see it: a. . That is something that will need a structural & cultural correction. Helen should revisit the Maslow's hierarchy of needs where esteem needs are most prevalent in highly talented people. a talented employee is not leaving the job but the immediate supervisor or senior management. In companies where talents are required to move the business. . She should win people's trust.Posted by Distant Dennis June 25. 2008 02:31 In most resignations. senior management in today's fast pace world where shareholders' continued expectation of increasing profitability has resulted in this serious oversight.

But these 3 can make a significant difference to the organization. Therefore continuous concern and care is needed with supportive corporate policies. 2008 02:01 I think that HR manager Mary's employee survey was at the first did not carry any kind of priority. Perhaps Helen's strengths lie in the area of design & not managing an organization in which case it may be better to get a professional CEO/ COO and she becomes the ideas head . Also not listening to Mary completely on the survey outcomes is another.Posted by Pankaj Bhargava June 26. Round_table meetings. For example the criteria for assessing people. This way she will leverage her strength as well as get the organization to be professionally managed. giving them new opportunities etc need to be defined transparently rather than be left to the whims & fancies of the CEO.the way Bill Gates has done at Microsoft.b. The HR seems to be run based on Helen's thinking rather than what is good for the org. Mary also has to change or get changed in the way she approaches HR. Not only industrial changes make the organizations dynamic but also the team itself. 1to1 communication is needed at the fire level of the problem. Also she needs to have other processes modified to be able to capture the real voice of people. Organizations are consisting of human beings. Also. There can be other changes too. Or having open sessions with people at regular intervals would help. Just remembering those past days are not helping. Thus competence & not loyalty should determine what role a person does & whether the person is a part of the org. they were not sure what made people leave the company against the competitor and they relied on a temporary unfair solution. . asking open ended questions such as what the person valued about the org & what could be changed may yield better answers than closed ended questions.as a leader panicking & taking knee jerk short term actions is likely to hurt the organization more in the long term than help it. At the end. . The second key issue is Helen's own mindset & leadership style . For example in the exit interviews. Helen did not give a good example of being CEO to manage the process. c. Thus the action to promote Adrienne is a wrong thought.

.Posted by Faruk June 30. Bottom-line. The neutral yet highly confidential function of this role would be able to spot an undesirable trend early.Posted by Joe Schmid June 30. CEO should directly speak with him and make the root-cause analysis by herself in case HR is not sufficient in this stage. Evaluations (even anonymous ones) are fine but does anyone truly believe they are acted upon in a timely and proactive manner? Doubt it.Posted by P.” has to be hurting the company and at a minimum raising flags with clients and prospects. “The exodus of star employees . 2008 17:11 .g. . Martin June 30. The answer to the question – “Why should I choose to work / choose to continue to work for Sambian Partners?” Creating a unique value proposition for attracting and retaining employees is board of director and senior management work – not something to be abdicated to HR Head Mary Donillo in a panic.If a vital director leaves the company. employees. available for all employees. Companies and their leadership do not spend the time and energy to create an understanding and then deliver a compelling value proposition for their other key stakeholders – e. an Ombuds. The board needs to have a conversation with her. Since the Ombuds is also independent of line and staff structure she or he can report directly to Helen to achieve immediate changes or redirections if warranted. . 2008 14:07 I would suggest to Helen the need for an informal channel of communication. the competition. Helen Gasbarian has the accountability and the authority to remedy this. . . but she has walked away from her responsibility of her role as CEO. prior to the talent hemmorage. 2008 12:58 Companies spend at great amount of time and effort crafting and delivering their value proposition for and to their markets and customers – the compelling reason why a customer should choose them to solve their problem vs. The voice that leads is her actions – promoting people who are rumored to be about to leave is a strong voice but not the right one.

Some old research out of the UK indicated that even when people leave there is a "cost" for doing so.create an alumni in other words. ONe additional action that could be undertaken is to strive to retain contact with those who have left . 2008 12:54 The three main causes that I observe are: 1) talent isn't a commodity . Hence organizations. .Posted by Mark Adams August 12. 2008 12:28 As the cobservations above reaffirm. but their usefulness stops there.20% increase in compensation. a barometer of their happiness.Employee satisfaction surveys are just one measurement for the overall engagement level of the organization.4 years. Mark Adams Calam Holdings Corp. as well as the effects of certain actions and new initiatives to remedy the situation. The root cause should be determined. As noted above. Also good alumni relationships promote referals. development opportunities and an apporpriate sense of recognition. one person indicated he left because the opportunities for movement are limited to him. They are good at identifying a symptom. Maintaining alumni contact will potentially reduce the costs of future intake. Theese are all controllable within the organization. he will be in an excellent position to return and move into a more senior role.Posted by Ray Beharry July 2. I have found this way of conceptualizing the issue has been helpful when discussing this problem with others. the top three reasons for staying or leaving are: qulaity of the immediate mananger. who lose people who go for a lesser $ premium. . As I recall if all things are equal (the three items above are equal) the price for moving from a financial perspective would be in the order of 15 . they have inadvertantly "lowered the cost" of leaving. Maybe with additional outside experience over the next 2 .

. I know you hired them to be managers but they need to be watched. 2008 22:42 Identifying the root cause: Many employees won't open up their mind unless they feel comfortable. You don. It sounds as though the project managers are not being held accountable only being rewarded for the end process. .Posted by Michaeline Terry January 14. 2009 17:40 Architecture is a tricky sphere for corporate policies to step in.2) respect isn't an accessory 3) networking isn't just nepotism . Each of the Project Managers will need to be observed one by one and replaced if they are not producing in a timely manner. . If your most bright talent speaks his mind then you would know exact reasons why they leave your company.t need HR experts but friends here to get your job done. Consultants. A person feels comfortable only if he finds a like minded person who is trustworthy. How to solve it: Helens job will become extremely easy when reasons for leaving job is known. students.Posted by Vitor David August 25.Posted by Amitava Mudi October 8. housewives. kids anyone can be given this small time job to read your employees mind. Somehow there has to be a monitor for the managers. Paper work and actions are two different things. 2008 02:49 I would encourage on the employees's exit interview to feel free to be open in regards to their leaving. Pleasing personality of HR/Manager doesn't make a person feel comfortable. Standard HR practices would be OK to resolve. Rules may be ammended to allow accomodating employee needs as far as it is possible. A clash of creativity at a junior level and a design freeze at a senior level may leave a lot of top talent high and dry. Sometimes managers are not managers only micromanagers which can destroy a company quickly.

Regards. Exit interviews of A+ employees should be taken by the CEO herself. Are our top performers being paid as much as those like them in other organization? If not. Since employees seem hesitant. Thank God my dude suggested to utilize the business loans. Identify top performers in each team and have 1:1 sessions to understand their concerns and involve them in developing a better organization roadmap/ blueprint. 4. Dhaval . Conduct a 'gap to market' study. 2. 2010 09:32 What Would You Do? * Required Fields . Thence I received the consolidation loans and made real my desire.1. Most people will respond yes to satisfaction surveys.Posted by MURRAYHarriett September 7.The action points in priority would be 1.Posted by DhavalR March 27. however I didn't have enough amount of cash to do that. Showing importance to employee concerns the leaving employees might just give her valuable tips to retain the ones leaving. 2. Rectify. 2010 17:05 I had got a desire to begin my commerce. skip all management levels and conduct a anonymous employee survey for "building a better organization". List key common pain points. Only when you ask them to describe a better way of doing things you will realize the gaps between what they want and what are we currently doing. 3. . Order a pyramid restructuring process based on the feedback received. in line with the 1:1 interviews above.

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self-conducted survey. and when key people leave. such as a disconnect between the firm's long-standing focus on innovative design and a more recent concern with profitability. pull back. emphasizing benefits based on individual needs. a human resources consultancy in Overland Park. Helen needs to take a deep breath. and move directly to expose the causes of the exodus. Sambian's employees need a forum in which they can speak openly about their discontent. Kansas. Helen must answer her wake-up call and grab the helm. I would also recommend that Helen tailor the company's value propositions as needed. like flexible hours for parents or health club discounts for young employees. He is the author of The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It's Too Late. who is not safeguarding the firm's talent. The candid discussions can expose the "triggering events" that impel people to leave. she must rerecruit the employees who remain loyal and stay. Leigh Branham is the CEO of Keeping the People. Helen must become an attentive listener and spend more time on the floor. She should take a hard look at Mary. Mary should establish an early-warning system. Mary should utilize third-party firms for surveys and exit interviews. going far beyond deciphering the clues in the firm's superficial. checking in with employees and coaching and mentoring other leaders. She should also start a weekly blog to follow up on questions or issues raised in her tours. *** Jim Cornelius is the chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers . because employees will tell a trusted outsider things they may not feel safe telling an insider like her. *** F.Anna Pringle is the head of international people and organization capability for Microsoft. she should make leaders accountable for attracting and retaining key talent. Finally.

She should also ensure that everyone knows and understands Sambian's mission. Although people join companies for rational motives (like better compensation and benefits). a global membership of chief human resources officers and a division of the Corporate Executive Board. I'd recommend simplifying the management structure so that Helen can have a better idea of what's really happening in different areas of the firm. but she's not doing that. She needs to reestablish stability--and fast. ideas. they stay and work hard for emotional ones. *** Jean Martin is the executive director of the Corporate Leadership Council. and complaints. By the time unhappy workers tell their managers what's going on. She should send bimonthly emails to encourage employee feedback. suggestions. I would urge Helen to support a mission and culture to which employees will feel connected.Squibb in New York City. In the wake of multiple departures. it's often too late. Vote on the Experts? Recommended Approaches Revisit and rebroadcast mission statement Implement CEO blog Conduct face-to-face CEO tours Host employee forums Enlist outside firm for exit interviews and employee surveys None of the above View Results . headquartered in Washington. Helen needs to focus on long-term solutions. DC. I'd advise Helen to meet face-to-face with her most talented employees and assure them that she understands their concerns and desires. promotions and salary increases are no more than Band-Aids. Helen's number one job as CEO is to attract and retain great talent.

Hold monthly employee-run "mission review sessions" to keep the mission fresh and to allow employees a forum for discussing how it applies to their daily work. Commentator illustration artist credit: Wendy Wray Related Content    One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees? Job Sculpting: The Art of Retaining Your Best People Growing Talent as if Your Business Depended on It      . Make sure employees have what they need to do their jobs. whether it's tools and resources or managerial support.The most important contributor to employees' emotional bond with their company is a sense of connection with the firm's mission.

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